Shots, Shocks and Shits!

Today seemed like the perfect day to talk about health challenges- and changes in plans. Today I was originally to head to Colorado for a business trip and then to Peru from there. Well…Life has a way of throwing you curve balls. One of these curve balls -is my Dad who has been on Hospice for the past 18 months- he is not the typical hospice patient- he continues to defeat all the odds.  On Thursday & Friday my Dad had some health “episodes” that make it appear that: my Dad who I have nicknamed the “energizer bunny” because he just keeps going and going!  Although he is certainly trying, my dad may not be able to win this time. He continues to amaze me. I am going to use his same determination to get me through this race. I have promised my Mom that no matter what happens, I will continue to go to Peru and Race as planned. I did however  cancel my business trip; to have a little more time with my Dad before I go to Peru. This is one more reason to Race- I will race in his honor and make him proud of how I have learned by his example to defy all odds.  The Race must go on!

Dad never thought he would live to live past 60! But he made it to 80!!!

When I signed up to go race in Peru it really hadn’t occurred to me that I would need immunizations. I have travelled a fair amount in my life., but mostly around the US, Europe and Canada. This was a new experience for me to need immunizations to go on a trip. But I am not scared of shots- so I wasn’t too concerned. But what surprised me was how expensive the shots are and that they are not covered by health insurance. I would think the health insurance companies would rather pay a small amount to avoid risk of having people get really bad diseases. This is not the case, I digress. Before I let myself get too political- I will switch my focus back to the topic at hand.

Waiting to get my Yellow Fever Shot!

Here are the immunizations I got for the trip:

  • Hepatitis A– (B- was optional- but I felt that this was one I was comfortable not getting). I went to the primary doctor and got this one. Luckily it was covered by insurance- so it was not overly expensive! It did hurt a little bit though. But I am tough- I am going to compete in the world’s longest raft race- right? I did get a really bad headache and have to miss a day of training as a result. (I generally never miss training- I live to be on the water).
  • Typhoid Pills– I can’t remember how much exactly but around ($100). I didn’t notice any reaction or problem from taking them. Easy peasy
  • Yellow Fever– This one was the pricey (approximately $400) and was hard to find a place that had the vaccine. I made an appointment at the Traveller’s Clinic to get this. I had to make the appointment a few weeks out. While waiting to get my shot- there was a girl who had just had hers and was beginning to have a full blown panic attack about her reaction- that she was sure she was already having. (She was fine). But it made me a little nervous. It really hadn’t occurred to me that I might have a reaction. But I didn’t let it get to me. I got the shot-and believe it or not it didn’t hurt. The next morning I was asked how I felt. Well….I thought I was totally fine. I thought I was one of the lucky ones who got off Scott free. I went to my Thursday morning practice and it was a little tougher than normal for me. But I didn’t think anything of it- thought it was just a hard practice. I took a nap and drug myself to the evening practice we kind of took it easy because of the heat (thank god). Friday- I had to take many naps, again- I didn’t think anything of it. Saturday came around and I could barely make it through practice. All I could think about was how hard each and every stroke was. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to get back to the dock. I went home and slept pretty much the rest of the day. By the time Monday came around I decided I should go to the doctor. I was sleeping pretty much all day and only awake a couple of hours at a time. I had to miss a week of training- I was just too tired to function. Luckily- there was nothing really wrong with me- just extreme fatigue.
  • Malaria Pills- I am to take those before, during and after the trip. I have not taken them yet. I have heard mixed reviews on the. I am going to have the attitude that I will not have any problems.
  • Dukoral- My Canadian team mates recommended we get the Dukoral vaccine which will help with Cholera and Traveler’s Diarrhea. Unfortunately-I wasn’t able to make it up to Canada to get it. So…I am going to have to forgo that. (That would have cost $100). I researched and taking pep to-bismol 4 times a day can help prevent the Traveller’s Diarrhea. I am going to do this in lieu of Dukoral… Fingers crossed.
  • Cippro– I also made sure to get this in case I get the really severe Diarrhea that can be life threatening. So I will have this on hand. Fingers crossed that I don’t need it.

Honestly, getting really sick is one of my biggest fears for this trip. People say that Men are babies when sick. Well…In my marriage- That was not the case. I was the complete and utter baby. I HATE being sick, particularly anything that causes Nausea and Diarrhea. But I do have some justification for this. I have epilepsy that is well controlled. However, nausea and severe diarrhea can sometimes trigger a seizure. I will be doing everything in my power to stay healthy and to avoid this. So…Be thinking positive thoughts!

I never thought my Dad would see me do Dragon Boating. But last year after many close calls.  He was able to come to the Portland Dragon Boat Fesitival 2017

Don’t get me wrong. I have been known to push through being sick. As I have previously mentioned. I own a dog walking business. I have walked dogs all day, even when I had very severe Pneumonia. By the time I went to the hospital- the doctor was surprised that I didn’t come in sooner. So I know that I have the will power to give it my all and persevere. I hope that my body decides to cooperate with my determination.  If I even have a small bit of my Dad’s perseverance, then I am going to rock this race!  No matter what obstacles I may face!


  1. Well, your training has prepared you, your immunizations are done, you are determined, and now you have your inspirational focus. I’d say you are ready. Go Sarah go!!


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